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Red Spikes
ISBN: 9780375843204
Author: Lanagan, Margo
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Published: October 2007
Retail: $16.99    OUR PRICE: $2.99
     You Save 82%
Binding Type: Hardcover
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Annotation: Margo Lanagans electrifying stories take place in worlds not quite our own, and yet each one illuminates what it is to be human. This dazzling new collection of short fiction by a master storyteller and Printz Honor winner is sure to leave readers surprised, touched, unsettled, intrigued, or scared senseless.
Additional Information
BISAC category: JUVENILE FICTION / Horror & Ghost Stories
Target Age Group: Age 15-18
Target Grade: Grade 10-12
Grade level: Grade 10-12
Physical Information: 0.69" H x 8.60" L x 6.00" W (0.65 lbs) 167 pages
Lexile Level: 820
Bargain Category: Science Fiction, Middle School, High School, Fantasy
Grade level(s): 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th
Accelerated Reader Info
Quiz #: 117877
Reading Level: 5.4   Interest Level: Upper Grades   Point Value: 6.0
Scholastic Reading Counts Info
Quiz #: Q42129
Reading Level: 4.7   Interest Level: Grades 6-8   Point Value: 11.0
 
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.
Reviewed by Horn Book Magazine Reviews (Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2007 #6)
Lanagan's (Black Juice, rev. 5/05; White Time, rev. 7/06) ten stories delve into the crevices of nightmare, temptation, and helplessness with a mixture of earthy dialect and inventiveness that makes this collection mesmerizing, sometimes horrifying, and occasionally funny. "A human eye is bigger than the head of a bird like me," one character (a budgie) says. "When it looks at you, it's hard to think straight, for fear of where all that attention might lead." That might be said of each one of the stories, which transfix the reader partly through their surprises (birth, rape, dead babies, nightmares that sound "spongy somehow, as well as bony") but mostly through Lanagan's language. She has an unerring ear for patterns of speech and for weird, terrifying combinations of words that conjure startling, vivid, fleshly images. "They ran so close together they were like a stretch of moss that pulled itself up and went hurrying off," she writes of a magicked flood of mice. "The dark parts of his eyes skated about on his eyeballs," she writes of a positively hair-raising Wee Willie Winkie. Physical desire and repugnance go uneasily hand in hand in most of the stories, which have the intensity of folktales and a powerfully visceral style. Copyright 2007 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.
Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2007 October #1)

Lanahan, whose Black Juice won critical acclaim both in her native Australia and in the U.S., will further enhance her reputation with this fine second collection of 10 stories. Driven by beautiful, often quirky language and deep psychological insight, these works demonstrate a powerful sense of the marvelous. In "Baby Jane," a boy on holiday hears a magical servant shout, "My queen is in difficulties. Is there a midwife here?... Any kind of leech, any wise woman," and finds himself in charge of delivering a royal child; a different sort of child, an emotionally needy girl who fears she will "die of her distress" after being separated from her mother for a night, must show some gumption and outwit the terrifying, baby-eating ogre Wee Willie Winkie in "Winkie." Other memorable characters include the dead souls in Limbo, who in "Under Hell, Over Heaven" earn brownie points by transporting the recently deceased to their final reward or punishment; and the eponymous "Daughter of the Clay," an unhappy changeling who travels to fairyland and decides in the end that it's best for her "to stay silent, on my bottom among the Clay, and fill my mouth with fish." Gritty, dark and sometimes very nasty, these stories are, at their best, worthy of comparison to the fairy tales of Angela Carter. Ages 14-up. (Oct.)

[Page 59]. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2007 October)

Gr 9 Up— Continuing in the style of Black Juice (HarperCollins, 2005), Lanagan presents 10 more tales of life, death, love, and the supernatural. Familiar places and concepts are turned upside down and inside out, and spun into something new and intriguing. "Winkie" takes a child's nursery rhyme and uncovers a dark, nightmarish core. In "A Feather in the Breast of God," the spirit of a pet bird returns to aid a family member in distress. The Catholic concept of Limbo provides the background for an examination of souls doomed to wander "Under Hell, Over Heaven." In a few brief pages, Lanagan manages to delineate her characters clearly, placing them in situations that test the limits of their courage and the depths of their humanity. The writing is haunting, evocative, and thought-provoking, though as with most short-story collections, some selections give greater satisfaction than others. Libraries with a high demand for tales of the fantastic will be particularly interested in this book.—Christi Voth, Parker Library, CO

[Page 156]. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.